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Fingerprints of the Gods Exhibits 11 and 12

This review of Exhibits 11 and 12 of Fingerprints of the Gods (FOG) was originally posted to sci.archaeology and alt.archaeology on April 28, 1996 as “Fingerprints of the Gods, Review of Exhibits 11-12. (Long Post)” I have edited the original post for spelling and conversion to HTML format.

Introduction – The Problem

…..Introduction from review of Exhibits 1-3 omitted…….

Exhibit 11

Having looked at Exhibit 11 a couple of times, I still quite uncertain as to what the point of this exhibit is. Essentially, it states that that when all of the man-made vibrations and atmospheric effects are eliminated, sensitive seismographs still detect background seismic activity. Again, like many of these exhibits in FOG, this is quoted with proper citation and without any revisions from Hapgood (1970, p. 325-226) which is an Appendix that is the preface to the French edition of Earth’s Shifting Crust by Dr. Hapgood.

Hapgood (1970) continues on to ask the question whether this seismic noise could be the result ongoing movement within the crust of the Earth which is possibly associated with active Earth crustal displacement. The preface to the French edition of Earth’s Shifting Crust in Hapgood (1970) states:

Might this not be an occultation of the crust itself in movement? The order of magnitude here is correct. Doubtless one could say that readjustments of the crust owing to isostasy would produce the same effect. Perhaps that is true. But then a study on a worldwide scale of this noise in the depths of the earth would make possible a map of the cracklings at the surface of the globe, and there is no doubt that one would then see the design of the great axes of deformation confirming or refuting Hapgood.

Geologists have conducted the worldwide study of the earthquakes that the preface to the French edition of Earth’s Shifting Crust proposes above. The distribution of earthquakes of various types clearly contradict the idea of the crust of the Earth slipping as one piece. Rather, the distribution of earthquakes clearly supports current theories of continental drift / plate tectonics as shown in innumerable publications including various geology and oceanology textbooks, i.e. Grant (1993, Figure 3-11), Skinner and Porter (1989, Figure 14-19), and Uyeda (1978, Figure 2-4), widely available prior to 1995. Seismic data also define Benioff Zones which are associated with oceanic crust sliding down into the mantle at subduction zones which also contradict the ideas of Hapgood (1970) that the crust consists of a single shell that can slide as one piece (Uyeda 1978). Thus, the preface was correct in stating that earthquake data could either confirm or refute the Earth crustal displacement ideas of Hapgood (1970).

Exhibit 12

Exhibit 12 is another exhibit quoted directly from Hapgood (1970) without revisions. In this exhibit, Hapgood (1970) as quoted by FOG, claims that the “North Pole” moved ten feet in direction of Greenland between 1900 and 1960 and that the North Pole moved another ten feet between 1960 to 1968. Hapgood (1970) and FOG interpret this to be the geometrical acceleration of the rate of movement that is far too rapid to be powered by “convection currents.” Rather, it is claimed that “some other mechanism” is at work. Presumably, the “mechanism” that FOG and Hapgood (1970, p. 44) consider to be at work is Earth crustal displacement.

However, when a person goes back to the original references cited by Hapgood (1970, p. 44), Deutsch (1963) and Markowitz (1968), it becomes clear that FOG is both confused and selective about the information it presents. First, it fails to clearly note that the rates of movement are not for the geographic North Pole, but rather for the magnetic North Pole. Given that the geographic North Pole lies on shifting Arctic Ocean sea ice, it would be impossible to establish any sort of benchmark for the direct measurement of the movement of the underlying sea floor. Finally, FOG by selectively comparing data creates the false appearance of acceleration that does not exist.

The alleged acceleration of the secular movement of the North (magnetic) Pole does not exist. It is simply a misrepresentation of the rates of movement calculated by Munk and MacDonnell (1960), as cited by Deutsch (1963), and Markowitz (1968) by both FOG and Hapgood (1970). In their research, neither Munk and MacDonnell (1960) nor Markowitz (1968) found any acceleration of the rate of movement for the North Pole for the periods of time they studied. For the period of 1900 to 1960, Munk and MacDonnell (1960) found a constant rate of 6 cm per year, For the period of 1900 to 1968, Markowitz (1968) found a rate of 10 cm per year with a 24-year periodic fluctuation above and below this average rate. The differences in the rates of movement calculated by Munk and MacDonnell (1960) and Markowitz (1968) reflects inherent and errors involved in the astronomical measurements of latitude and longitude and the different data bases and methods used by each to calculate the rates of movement.

The impression of an acceleration is created by comparing the findings of Markowitz (1968) for the years 1960 to 1968 and comparing it to the findings of Munk and MacDonnell (1960) for the years 1900 to 1960. This comparison ignores the findings of Markowitz (1968) for the same period that shows no change in rates has occurred for the period 1900 to 1968. Also, FOG ignores that with the errors present within the both estimates, they both might be measuring the same rate within the precision of methods and data used.

Finally, both FOG and Hapgood (1970) are very vague about what the rates of movement actually represent. Both fail to realize that the rates of movement calculated by Munk and MacDonnell (1960) and Markowitz (1968) represent the wandering of the North (magnetic) Pole which has very little to do with any actual movement of the crust of the Earth. It is a well documented fact that the magnetic North Pole of the Earth does not permanently coincide with the geographic North Pole. About 400 years of historic declination data and thousands of years of closely spaced paleomagnetic measurements from Holocene lake deposits clearly show that the magnetic North Pole has looped and circled about geographic North Pole within five to ten degrees of latitude of it. For example, using paleomagnetic data from cores representing up to 10,000 years of lake deposits, Ohno and Hamano (1992) have mapped the wanderings of the North (magnetic) Pole relative to the North (geographic) Pole over the last 10,000 years.

(Note: This wandering of the magnetic poles is the basis for archaeomagnetic dating. For more information, see Archaeomagnetic Dating by J. L. Eighmy and published by University of Arizona Press, Tucson.)

Another mechanism other than continental drift is at work to produce the movement of the North Pole, but this mechanism has nothing to do with Earth crustal displacement as FOG and Hapgood (1970) imply. Rather, the movement represents the normal, irregular wanderings of the magnetic poles about the geographic poles as caused by variations in the fluid motions in the liquid outer core that generates the magnetic field of the Earth (Merrill and McElhinney 1983). Markowitz (1968) concluded:

The secular motion of the pole is judged to be real and has been detected because it is relatively large, about 10 cm/yr. Crustal drifts have not been detected because the drift rate in latitude for the ILS stations is small, 1 cm/year or less. Attempts have been made to prove that secular changes in longitude, not due to polar motion, have occurred. The observations used were non-concurrent. Also, different instruments, star lists, and methods of receiving time signals have been changed from time to time, and instruments were changed in location, as at Washington, Richmond, and Ottawa (5) Such heterogeneous data cannot be used to detect continental drift. However, concurrent observations for time and latitude, made in the future with PZT’s and astrolabes, and combined with continuing ILS observations may detect continental drift in the next 30 to 50 years. There is the possibility of course, that the laser method may detect such drift much sooner. Additional details of the topics discussed here will be published in the Bulletin Geodesique.

ILS = International Latitude Service chain
PZT = Photographic Zenith Tube

Thus, Markowitz (1968) clearly concludes that the measured movement was due almost entirely, if not completely, to the normal wandering of the magnetic poles. Furthermore, he concludes that direct measurement of actual movement of the crust failed because of the quality of the data and the the very low rate of movement of the crust relative to the rate of movement of the magnetic pole. These are conclusions that both FOG and Hapgood (1968) neither to discuss nor inform their readers of.

It is ironic that Hapgood (1970) cites Deutsch (1963) as a reference because Deutsch (1963) considered Earth crustal displacement as a serious hypothesis. After the analysis of the available paleomagnetic data, Deutsch (1963) concludes that there is a lack of any data supporting the crustal displacement ideas of Dr. Hapgood as previously proposed in Hapgood (1958). Curiously, the serious consideration given the ideas of Hapgood by papers such as Deutsch (1963) is ignored by Dr. Hapgood and by his supporters who falsely claim as in the Mysterious Origins of Man that the theory of Earth crustal displacement has been completely ignored by geologists and other scientists. Apparently, it makes a much better story to incorrectly claim that Dr. Hapgood was a genius martyred for his unconventional ideas then tell the truth that his ideas were taken seriously, tested against large amounts of data, and discarded like many other theories simply because his ideas failed to explain the facts.


Neither Exhibit 11 nor 12 provide any evidence supporting the existence of Earth crustal displacement as advocated by FOG. In fact, Exhibit 12 shows that both FOG and Hapgood (1970) have a very pronounced habit of ignoring well documented geological processes and contrary conclusions in order to incorrectly claim that apparent movement caused by these processes are evidence for Earth crustal displacement. If FOG believes that the rates of movement measured for the North Pole are caused by Earth crustal displacement, it needs to reveal that an alternative explanation for this movement exist, why this alternative explanations fails to explain the data, and why Earth crustal displacement is the better explanation.

References Cited

Deutsch, E. R., 1963, Polar wandering and continental drift: an evaluation of recent evidence. in A. C. Munyan (ed.), pp. 4-46, Polar Wandering and Continental Drift. SEPM Special Publication no. 10, Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

Gross, M. G., 1993, Oceanology, 6th ed., Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, 446 pp.

Hapgood, C. H., 1958, Earth’s Shifting Crust. Pantheon Books, New York.

Hapgood, C. H., 1970, The Path of The Pole. Chilton Book Company, New York.

Munk, W. H., and MacDonnell, G. J. F., 1960, The Rotation of Earth. The University Press, Cambridge University, United Kingdom.

Merrill, R. T., and McElhinney, W. M., 1983, The Earth’s Magnetic Field. Academic Press, New York.

Markowitz, W., 1968, Concurrent astronomical observations for studying continental drift, polar motion, and the rotation of the Earth. in W. Markowitz and B. Guinot (eds.), pp. 25-32, Continental Drift, Secular Motion of the Pole, and Rotation of the Earth. International Astronomical Union Symposium no. 32. Springer-Verlag, New York.

Ohno, M., and Hamano, Y., 1992, Geomagnetic poles over the past 10,000 years. Geophysical Research Letters. vol. 19, no. 16, pp. 1715-1718.

Skinner, B. J., and Porter, S. C., 1989, The Dynamic Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 540 pp.

Uyeda, S., 1978, The New View of the Earth: Moving Continents and Moving Oceans. W. H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 217 pp.

….signature omitted……

Version 4.0
Dec 18, 2001

Copyright (c) 1996-2002 Paul V. Heinrich All rights reserved.